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Teno Peters is escorted back to prison on March 26, 2024, to complete his sentence for manslaughter.
Teno Peters is escorted back to prison on March 26, 2024, to complete his sentence for manslaughter.

A 31-year-old man who stabbed and killed one of his friends during a New Year’s Day altercation has been jailed for eight years and eight months for manslaughter.

Tino Peters was originally charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 1, 2022 death of Joseph Michael McKie, of Richland Park.

However, on Feb. 9, he pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter and the prosecution accepted the plea.

Justice Richard Floyd sentenced Peters at High Court No. 2, in Kingston on March 26.

“This was a very serious crime. A man was stabbed to death as a result of an argument at a New Year’s gathering,” the judge said.

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“What was meant to be a celebration of the hopes and expectations of a new beginning became a terrible end to a young man’s life.”

The facts of the case are that a New Year’s Eve celebration was held at Jar Plum Bar in Richland Park on Dec. 31, 2021.

As the night progressed and midnight passed, there was general unrest in the bar and the owner closed the venue and the patrons went out into the yard.

An argument ensued between Peters and McKie and escalated into a physical altercation during which Peters stabbed McKie several times with a black flip-blade knife.

Peters was heard to say, “Boy, we go stab you up’ when McKie fell to the ground.

The injured man was assisted by friends and was taken to the Levi Latham Health Centre in Mesopotamia, where he was pronounced dead on Jan. 1, 2022.

Peters was treated at the same health centre for a fresh wound above his right ear, a cut to the left ear and bruising to the upper left shoulder and the left side of the neck.

A knife was recovered from the room where Peters was treated and police arrested him at the health centre that same day.

Later that day, he told police during an interview under caution that his injuries were from being struck with a bottle while liming earlier that night.

He told police the knife belonged to him and he had used it to stab McKie, who he referred to as “Tallest”.

Peters told police that the knife must have fallen from his pocket when he was being treated.

He further said he had consumed strong rum and beer that night and had also smoked cigarettes and while he was not drunk, he was high when the incident occurred.

Peters told investigators he had gotten into an argument with another man and McKie got involved and pushed him (Peters). 

He then rushed at McKie, grabbed his throat, pulled his knife from his pants pocket and “pelt stab” at McKie as they faced each other.

McKie held Peters and scratched his neck. Peters said they were separated then McKie picked up a piece of steel and came towards him.

He said that he rushed at McKie and stabbed him in the belly and McKie fell to the ground.

He attributed the injuries to his ears to McKie.

Peters received seven stitches to close the wound to the right ear and three stitches to a superficial wound to the left ear. He also had bruising to the left shoulder and left side of the neck.

A post-mortem examination was conducted and the pathologist observed four stab wounds. The cause of death was listed as multiple stab wounds.

‘loud and aggressive’ when drunk

A social inquiry report said that police officers who are familiar with Peters described him as quiet and hard-working but very loud and aggressive when he consumes alcohol.

Prison authorities described him as respectful and compliant with a good attitude.

Peters quit school in form 3.

He told the social worker who prepared the report that he had very little family support and he and his siblings were forced to support themselves.

He said his mother suffered from ill health when he was young. As an adult, Peters worked in construction.

When asked about the incident, Peters said he wanted to take responsibility for his actions and, therefore, pleaded guilty.

He was remorseful and acknowledged the seriousness of his conduct, adding that McKie was a friend, the report said.

Peters said he could not recall what triggered the confrontation but said everyone was drunk that night, McKie who was the aggressor and he acted in self-defence.

The report said Peters’ family members spoke highly of him, saying he contributed to the family, is a hard worker and has a good attitude.

On the other hand, members of McKie’s family spoke of ongoing pain and feelings of loss at his sudden death.

They were surprised that Peters was responsible for the death.

Community members said Peters grew up in a broken home with a single mother.

He took care of his ill mother and although he smokes and drinks, he is not a troublemaker, residents said, adding that they were surprised to learn of his role in this incident.

Meanwhile, McKie’s mother, Maria Thomas, spoke of enormous grief and pain at the loss of her child.

She said she could no longer take part in New Year’s Eve celebrations as the memories of her son’s death were too painful.

Her health has been affected and her house remains unfinished because of her son’s death. 

The judge established a starting point of 13 years in prison.

He noted that the crime involved the use of a weapon — a knife – and increased the sentence by 1.5 years to 14.5 years in light of this aggravating feature.

The court noted that there was no premeditation, adding that an argument in a bar on New Year’s Eve escalated but there was no planning.

Justice Floyd, therefore, reduced the sentence by half a year to 14 years.

The court found no aggravating features of the offender and noted, in mitigation, the genuine remorse, as demonstrated in the social inquiry report.

The defendant also assisted the authorities by cooperating with police and providing an inculpatory statement.

The judge, therefore, reduced the sentence by one year, taking it to 13 years.

Peters was granted the full one-third discount for his guilty plea, taking the sentence to eight years and eight months.

The court also subtracted the two years, two months and 23 days he spent remanded in custody, leaving a sentence of six years, five months and seven days.

Peters was represented by counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste while Alana Cumberbatch appeared for the Crown.